Buying or Selling Hot Dynasty Names

Deciphering the dynasty value of four surprise breakouts

Deciphering value out of small sample sizes is always difficult. You do not want to miss the boat on the next big thing, but avoiding overreacting to hot starts is also important. Playing in dynasty leagues adds a whole extra layer of strategy. Should you be looking to trade away certain players early to maximize value? The other option is to hold these potential breakout players if you truly believe in talent. Now two and a half weeks into the season, there are several players that dynasty managers are trying to figure out what to do with. This article breaks down how dynasty managers should be treating four players off to hot starts in 2024.

Be sure to head over to the Pitcher List Dynasty page for all things prospects and dynasty.


Hot Start(s) to Buy in Dynasty


Spencer Steer– Outfield/Infield, Cincinnati Reds

The hype surrounding the Reds has been strong since the halfway point of last season. With players/prospects like Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, it is easy for other players to slide under the radar. That is exactly what happened with Spencer Steer. Steer’s shine and appeal seemed to wear off quickly despite a strong rookie season. Now in 2024, Steer is off to the best start of any Reds hitter and making fantasy managers pay more attention. Dynasty managers should be buying into Steer’s fast start while his price is still cheaper than some of his fellow teammates.

While dynasty managers should not expect Spencer Steer to continue batting over .350 they should expect sustained success throughout the season. Steer does not do any one thing exceptionally but does a lot well. For starters, Steer pairs excellent plate discipline with strong contact skills. Steer is not just making contact on any pitch that is thrown his way (like we see with Oswaldo Cabrera below), but he is selective. His understanding of the strike zone forces pitchers to attack him where he can do damage.

His approach paired with the ballpark the Reds call home allows Steer to hit more home runs than his batted ball metrics would suggest. Steer is barreling the ball more early on this season, but he does not post the kind of exit velocities that make you pay more attention. Still, Steer gets to play in the most homer-friendly park in all of baseball and uses that to his advantage. He is also still just 26 years old with only one full season of plate appearances under his belt. Steer could continue to get even better.

He also has plus speed and has proven to be an adept base stealer. Steer stole 15 bases last season and is already up to two this year. He profiles to be a 15-20 steal player for the next several years to come. Plus speed, solid power, and an excellent hit tool. What more could dynasty managers ask for?

While Steer is not the flashiest player in the Reds’ lineup, he has proven to be an essential one. His defensive versatility and consistency at the plate are essential to the Reds’ success. Over the next few seasons, Steer will be a featured player in a lineup that profiles to continue improving each season. Steer not being the flashiest player makes it even easier for dynasty managers to go acquire him. He is a five-category contributor and is a prime player to buy after his fast start to 2024.


Garrett Crochet– Pitcher, Chicago White Sox

If you have been on a ship with no cell service since the start of the season, you might do a double take when you hear that Garrett Crochet has worked his way into ace consideration. Now, the season is still young. We have not even reached the halfway point in April, but the hype for Crochet is off the charts. Dynasty managers need to buy in now while there is still some hesitation surrounding his long-term outlook.

The White Sox selected Crochet with their first-round pick in the 2020 draft. Crochet was so talented that he did not even require a stint in the Minor Leagues. He made his Major League debut that season becoming a key piece of the White Sox’s playoff bullpen. The team continued to utilize him out of the bullpen in 2022 where he fired 54.1 innings before missing the majority of last season with an injury.

I do not think the team planned ever only to use Crochet as a reliever. Teams do not spend the 11th overall pick on a player they think can only be used out of the bullpen. However, that is how the dynasty community treated Crochet prior to his fast start. Instead of viewing Crochet as a 24-year-old prospect who threw 54.1 innings with a 2.80 FIP in 2022, Crochet was viewed by many as a finished product. The team’s desire to stretch him out as a starter this off-season did not do much to inspire much excitement from those in the fantasy baseball community.

That all changed on Opening Day when Crochet fired six innings of one-run ball against the Tigers while striking out eight. He put any talks of a fluke to bed when he went out and dominated an elite Braves lineup in his second start. More than just the impressive box scores, Crochet’s stuff has been electric. Overall, Crochet’s stuff plus has graded out as a 113. His slider has been particularly impressive grading out only behind Aaron Civale, Hunter Greene, Joe Musgrove, and Kyle Harrison. He is racking up the strikeouts and showing off much better command than anybody anticipated. Through three starts, Crochet has walked just one batter.

The most common argument against Crochet’s hot start has nothing to do with his on-mound performance. Everybody in the fantasy baseball community agrees that Crochet has been dominant so far and looks like the real deal. The issue is the lack of build-up throughout his Major League career. Crochet has never topped 54.1 innings in a season and through just three starts, he has already thrown more innings than he did last year. The White Sox are sure to be careful with his innings this year and he could eventually get shut down later this season.

For redraft leagues, the argument makes sense. Crochet’s 2024 production is likely capped at around 100 innings and he might not help your fantasy teams at all come playoff time.

For dynasty leagues, this should be irrelevant. Crochet is flashing top-of-the-rotation stuff and doing so at the Major League level. Dynasty managers routinely fall in love with prospects like Jackson Jobe and Paul Skenes this season who have yet to even throw a Major League inning. My advice? Treat Crochet like a prospect. Any Major League innings he gives you this season are a bonus but his real value is for 2025 and 2026. His innings will continue to go up and he could easily find himself being ranked as a top-ten pitcher in all of baseball. The best part of this bonus is that the innings he is providing you this year are going to be at an elite level unlike many prospects making their debut.

The pro-Crochet argument becomes even more obvious once you consider the high number of pitching injuries we have already seen this season. The saying “there is no such thing as a safe pitcher” has grown in validity this season. Shane Bieber, Gerrit Cole, and Spencer Strider are just a few of the names to be dealing with significant injuries this season. You never know when a pitcher is going to get injured. Dynasty managers should appreciate the elite innings Crochet is giving them now and not try to get too cute fielding offers for one of the best pitchers in baseball this season.


Hot Starts to Sell in Dynasty


Ronel Blanco– Pitcher, Houston Astros

The Astros rotation is a little bit different than it has been in past years. Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers are on the IL leaving the team trying to piece things together. Insert 30-year-old Ronel Blanco who had made just seven Major League starts entering the season. To say his season got off to a fast start is an understatement as he pitched a no-hitter in his first start of the season. All he did to follow that up was throw six innings of one-hit ball in his second start against the defending World Series Champions. While the early returns have been fantastic, dynasty managers should be selling high on Blanco while they can.

While not all pitchers need to have fantastic stuff to be useful, it certainly helps fantasy managers evaluate small sample sizes. Stuff is the primary reason Garrett Crochet landed in the hot starts dynasty managers should be buying. Stuff is also the reason why Blanco finds himself in the hot starts dynasty managers should be selling. Overall, through two starts Blanco’s stuff grades out as a 99 on the Stuff+ model. Not a bad number, but far from outstanding. PLV is a little bit higher on Blanco giving him three pitches that grade out as above average. Bianco’s ability to limit hard contact has been encouraging, but the lack of whiffs he is generating is the major red flag. Opposing batters are only chasing 26.8% of the time and only whiffing 26.6% of the time. This has led to a lacklustre 21.2% strikeout rate.

Strikeouts are a key component to fantasy relevance and Blanco simply does not generate very many. The pitchers that maintain fantasy relevance without huge strikeout numbers do so with elite control. Zach Eflin and George Kirby are examples of pitchers that do this. Blanco does not fit into this category. Through two starts, Blanco is walking 11.5% of batters he faces. His K/BB ratio currently sits at 1.83. The two lowest K/BB ratios in all of Major League Baseball last year belonged to Johan Oviedo and Taijuan Walker at 1.9 and 1.94 respectively. Both are higher than Blanco so far.

From a dynasty perspective, the case to sell becomes even clearer once you factor in his age. Rarely do we see pitcher breakouts at 30 years old. Blanco is a nice story to start the season, but the reality is that his long-term outlook is not very optimistic. Even just looking at his 2024 outlook, it is easy to be skeptical. The Astros rotation will get healthy at some point and Blanco could be left fighting for a rotation spot. I would not be surprised if Blanco is not a member of the Astros Opening Day rotation in 2025. This is the perfect time for dynasty managers to sell Blanco for something useful. Even if it is just to get a prospect that you have been eyeing up; do it. Now is the time to capitalize instead of getting caught up in the small-sample-size hype.


Oswaldo Cabrera– Third Base, New York Yankees

One of the biggest surprises to start the season has been the offensive production from Oswaldo Cabrera. Cabrera, after not even originally being pencilled into the Opening Day Lineup, has been on a tear early on. After hitting just five home runs last year, Cabrera blasted two bombs in the first series alone. Still just 25 years old, many dynasty managers are wondering if they should buy back into Cabrera. Granted, he did hit 29 home runs with 21 stolen bases during the 2021 Minor League season. Is this the breakout, dynasty managers have been looking for? The simple answer is no. This is the time to sell high on Cabrera in your dynasty leagues. Now, let’s dive into why

Cabrera made his Major League debut for the Yankees back in 2022. Expectations were high, but the results have been disappointing. Entering the season, Cabrera owned a 78 wRC+ through his first 501 plate appearances. Breakouts stem from tangible changes. These changes can be bat speed, swing path, improved plate discipline, and the list could go on and on. One of the first things to do when trying to figure out if a breakout is legit is to go area by area looking for anything that could point to this being sustainable success.

The one area of Cabrera’s game that did not need much improvement was his contact skills. Cabrera posted above-average contact rates and those appear to have gotten even better early on this season. So far, Cabrera is whiffing less than 20% of the time while also maintaining better-than-average chase rates. He makes contact over 80% of the time on pitches inside of the strike zone and profiles. While this is all a good sign for Cabrera’s profile, it leads to a major area of concern.

Since reaching the Major Leagues, Cabrera’s power has seemingly disappeared. His approach at the plate prioritizes making contact over impacting the baseball which is problematic for fantasy managers. As mentioned previously, Cabrera hit just five home runs last season in 115 games. The two home runs Cabrera hit in the opening series were encouraging, but there is nothing in the underlying metrics that suggest he is on the precipice of a power breakout. Cabrera’s average exit velocity is lower than it was last season and he has not set any new career highs in max exit velocity. Even more concerning is the lack of pulled-baseballs. If a player is not posting high exit velocities, they need to be hitting plenty of pulled-fly balls (see Isaac Paredes). Cabrera’s pull rate sits lower than it ever has at any point in his professional career.

With no reason to believe that his power is going to make any noticeable improvements this season, there is no reason to be buying into Cabrera in dynasty formats. The biggest factor fueling Cabrera’s fast start is an unsustainably high BABIP. So far, his BABIP sits up around .400 which is never going to continue. Cabrera does not hit very many line drives making it likely his BABIP will eventually fall below .300.

Cabrera’s fast start is nice to see, but dynasty managers should be selling high. Entering the season, nobody viewed Cabrera as more than a super-utility bat who is more likely to be a valuable bench piece than a reliable starter. Nothing from the first few weeks of action should change that perception.


Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter) / Photo by Melissa Tamez / Icon Sportswire

2 responses to “Buying or Selling Hot Dynasty Names”

  1. Micah McLain says:

    Thanks! Can you suggest any dynasty trade targets if we’re looking to sell Oswaldo? (OPS league)

    • Matt Heckman says:

      not to sound brief but honestly, anything you can get! Deeper prospect leagues I love Henry Bolte as a prospect you could probably get for him.

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